Cutlass and Cudgel
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- Athelstane e-Books, London, England, United Kingdom
- Nick Hodson
In some ways this book is reminiscent of "The Lost Middy", by the same author, but I suppose that with a similar theme, a nosey midshipman taken prisoner by a gang of smugglers, there are bound to be other points of similarity. Anyway, it is a good fast-moving story, with lots of well-drawn human interest.
It starts off with a comic scene, where the Excise patrol vessel is cruising near an area suspected of being heavily involved with smuggling. Suddenly a large object is seen swimming in the water, and it turns out to be a cow. Then there's all the business of milking the cow on the deck of a sailing-vessel. Pretty soon, however it gets serious, and we meet various characters living nearby. Soon the inquisitive midshipman is taken prisoner, and it falls to another teenager, the son of one of the chief rogues, to bring him food. Both boys become friendly with each other, but the midshipman can only express it by appearing to hate the farm-fisher boy, whom he considers to be socially far beneath him. The farm-boy tries so hard to be kind to the midshipman, who is so rude in return.
Eventually the midshipman escapes, the smugglers are caught, and the farm-boy becomes a seaman on the Excise vessel.
George Manville Fenn lived from 1831 to 1909, and was a prolific writer of boys' adventure stories. He also wrote serialised books for the various boys' periodicals.
The feature that is common to most of his books is the method of sustained suspense that he employed. He wrote, in explaining this, that he relied upon the human desire to unravel a mystery, to retain his readers' attention. He was able to retain their interest right up to the very last page, by building up mysterious and dire situations one upon the other. You are constantly left asking, "How does he get out of this one?" It is just this aspect that makes transcribing his books to e-texts such fun.
George Manville Fenn, English writer of juvenile stories, was born in London January 3, 1831. He was educated at private schools, then attended Battersea Training College for Teachers from 1851 to 1854. He was Master of a small school in Lincolnshire for a time, then became a printer and published a small magazine of poetry, "Modern Metre," in 1862. Two years later he was part owner of the Hertfordshire and Essex Observer, another unsuccessful venture. He then began writing for various periodicals, such as Chamber's Journal and All the Year Round, and was editor of Cassell's Magazine in 1870, and of Once a Week from 1873 to 1879. He soon began to pour out a flood of books for boys, as well as a few novels, many of which were reprinted in America, and before his death he had published between 175 and 200. He was married in 1855 to Susanna Leake, and by her had two sons and six daughters. He died August 26, 1909.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Hewlett-Packard scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner or a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 camera to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used TextBridge Pro 98 or ABBYY Finereader 7 or 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk
The PDF version is constructed from 300 dpi scans. To get best value set "Use Logical Page Numbers" to "ON" in Edit/Preferences/Page Display of your PDF viewer. To obtain the ZIP file find the area on the left of this page which has PDF and TXT in it, and click on FTP. The larger of the two TXT files is what you need to read the book using yBook. To create an audiobook, using for instance Text Aloud MP3, download the ZIP file and unpack it. The smaller of the two TXT files contains full instructions for creating audiobooks.
- 2007-08-06 07:46:24
- Early nineteenth century; the sea
- ABBYY FineReader 8.0
- This process represents a large investment of time and skill. You may freely download a copy for your own use. We do not in the least mind if anybody wishes to offer any of our work on another website, but would point out that they should state that the copyright is Athelstane's, rather than claiming it as their own. They should also state that as we are constantly working to improve our texts, their readers should refer back to our version if they need to verify a text. Commercial use strictly forbidden.
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